Porch/Deck Safety: The Dangers Presented by Porch Collapses

In Illinois, if you have a porch or deck that collapses due to improper maintenance or negligent design, the landlords, property owners, and contractors could be liable for any personal injuries.

Everyone wants to keep their family or friends safe and prevent injuries from from a collapsing deck, balcony, or porch. You also want to avoid potential personal injury lawsuits that are financially costly and often significantly affect relationships.

In this article, we will cover the common causes of a porch, deck, or balcony collapse, the injuries sustained, and what to do if you or a loved one is injured during a structural collapse of a patio, porch, or balcony. 

Common Causes of a Porch or Deck Collapse

Several issues can lead to the collapse of your porch or deck, causing severe injuries or death, including the following:

  • If your porch or deck is not up to the required building codes. This includes having a defective railing, dry rot due to low-quality materials, or using faulty materials.
  • If your patio or porch has a termite infestation which causes structural components to become weakened.
  • If you, as a property owner, do not practice regular maintenance and it results in rotting wood or load-bearing components weakening.
  • If you have too much weight on the structure, either due to items being stored, exceeding occupancy, or a combination of both on your deck which can cause it to collapse.

If your deck or porch collapses in Chicago, the property owner may be held legally responsible, depending on the circumstances. The injured party may file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner for poor construction or failure to maintain the structural integrity of the porch or balcony.

Most Common Injuries Caused by the Collapse of a Deck, Porch or Balcony

When a balcony, deck, or porch suddenly collapses, it often results in serious injuries or death. The most common injuries that people sustain are:

  • Internal injuries when someone is crushed or caught beneath the debris
  • Broken bones due to the fall and weight of the building materials
  • Disc herniations
  • Traumatic brain injuries may occur if the structural materials hit the victim’s head
  • Nerve damage
  • Quadriplegia and paraplegia if the porch, deck, or balcony crushes the victim’s spine or if the spine is severely injured from the fall
  • Wrongful death 

The severity of the injury usually depends on the structure’s height from the ground, the location, and if the injured person or persons came in contact with any other objects during the collapse.

What to Do if You Sustain an Injury From a Porch or Deck Collapsing

If you or someone you love suffered injuries from a deck, porch, or balcony collapsing, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. You should also do the following:

  • Make sure that you tell the property owner and local property inspection department about the accident immediately.
  • Make sure that you don’t speak with any investigators or insurance representatives before consulting with a personal injury attorney.
  • Talk with an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago, Illinois, to ensure that vital evidence is gathered, documented, photographed, and preserved for future personal injury claims.

Compensation for Personal Injury Resulting From a Porch or Deck Collapsing

If you are injured due to a deck collapsing, contact a personal injury lawyer to identify all parties at fault to ensure you receive maximum compensation in your personal injury lawsuit and insurance claim.

There are several factors to consider when pursuing compensation, including:

  • All medical bills, past, present, and future, including physical therapy, prescription drugs, and surgeries
  • Loss of income while you are going through rehabilitation and any possible reduction in your ability to earn a living in the future
  • Any cosmetic changes and disabilities incurred
  • Distress and suffering

You must prove the collapse of the balcony, porch, or deck was the cause of the victim’s injuries and show harm and loss due to the accident to receive compensation. A skilled personal injury attorney can help build a compelling case and ensure that you receive proper compensation to aid your recovery.

Tips to Ensure Your Porch or Deck Doesn’t Collapse

To avoid potential personal injury lawsuits, here is a list to ensure your porch or deck is structurally sound and safe.

  • Ensure that it complies with local regulations in Illinois. For example, in Chicago, your balcony, deck, or porch must be able to support 100 pounds per square foot at the minimum.
  • Be clear on how much weight is safe and avoid exceeding the weight capacity.
  • If your porch, deck, or balcony is older than 15 years, ensure that you have it reinforced and repaired by a professional.
  • Inspect your patio or deck yearly for things like nails, loose boards, cracks, rotting wood, loose fasteners, etc., and ensure it is repaired properly.
  • Protect it from harsh weather, such as heavy snow or rain. 

If You or a Loved One is Injured, Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Chicago, Illinois

At Pullano & Siporin, we have over 50 years of combined experience in personal injury law. We have the knowledge and expertise to help you investigate your claim, gather evidence, and determine who is liable for your injuries. 

We are here to help you navigate the complex legal system to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation so we can get to work helping you get justice and compensation for your injuries.

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